Knowledgebase

sticky substance on leaves of ornamental cherry tree #790778

Asked May 14, 2022, 3:44 PM EDT

I have a flowering ornamental cherry tree that is not looking well . I just noticed what looked like rain drops on the driveway under the tree , looking at the leaves there is a cleary sticky substance . A ny ideas of cause or treatment or is it too late to help ?

Franklin County Ohio

Expert Response

https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2011/7-13/gummosis.html  There are several explanations for the “rain drops” under your tree. This article describes one possibility.
Often insects like scales can be found on the branches of a tree .They are feeding there, sucking fluid from the tree which contains a lot of sugars as well as their main goal, amino acids. This extra sugary fluid is extruded by them and falls onto leaves or onto the ground underneath, or onto anything below the tree. Sometimes this liquid becomes covered in a black sooty mold which is not related to the origin of the drops. 
Check the tree and look for brownish scales, small humped shapes with the babies living underneath and hatching out to feed.
If there are no injuries to the bark or branches that you can see, and no scale, we can look further.
The scales can be washed off with a strong spray of water or even wiped off by hand. 
If there is extensive damage to the tree from borers as suggested in the article above, there are few avenues of recourse.  There are some sources that suggest taking a thin piece of metal (paper clip) and poking it into the hole from which the sap is coming to kill the borer inside. 
I will help you track options if you can see more about what is happening. 
Lois Rose-MGV Replied May 14, 2022, 5:21 PM EDT

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